It seems we’re all affected by something I call “time creep.” Everything is starting a little earlier these days, and that would include 10 on your side, which has just launched a 4pm newscast. It’s an early appetizer of the days events, and news happening now. I couldn’t resist snapping off a few behind the scenes photos. See you at 4!
By now, many of you know how much I enjoy photography, which walks hand in hand with storytelling. I recently spent a few spare moments in between newscasts capturing the scenes of co-workers undertaking the daily responsibility of being on your side. I hope I captured some of the serious work and light-hearted moments of The Newsroom. See photos here.
It’s a twice daily event; a meeting of the minds, where we bounce ideas off of each other for stories to occupy slots in the late news. The tone of these 3 pm meetings ranks somewhere between a business conference and a 2-for-1 happy hour (minus the drinks). This meeting takes on special significance, since it marks the final afternoon conference for two talented producers: Laura Mammarella is staying on the late news, with added responsibility. But David Craft is moving to our daytime line-up, as we endure a bit of producer shuffle. Laura has a quiet professional approach to the job, while David projects a booming personality, made bigger by an infectious laugh. Strong story ideas pitched by Lauren Compton and Jason Marks made this affair brief. You see more on our late news. But first, today’s top 5 at 5.
1.) 2 dead on Maersk Alabama. The former Navy SEALs, who worked for Virginia Beach based security firm, were discovered Tuesday on the container ship, which was docked in Port Victoria in Seychelles off the coast of Africa. Art Kohn is working his sources as I write this. The Maersk Alabama was recently featured in the movie “Captain Phillips,” which was based on the story of the ship’s hijacking by pirates off the coast of Somalia in 2009.
2.) Man accused of sexual battery at Norfolk school. Anne McNamara is following a story which requires some serious digging. A female student told police a man inside Bayview Elementary touched her inappropriately. Police have charged him with aggravated sexual battery. More details are coming at 5.
3.) Dodge tolls; pay the price. Andy Fox explains why taking alternate routes to avoid tolls at the tunnels could cost you in a way you may not have considered.
4.) New rules of the game? Anita Blanton has found the Virginia High School League, an organization which regulates high school activities, is considering new regulations on transgendered athletes.
5.) Two Bucks could get you $400 million. The only investment with that kind of yield is a powerball lottery ticket. But such a lucrative payoff comes with odds of winning it all at 1-in-175 million. In other words, you have a better chance of being crushed by a vending machine.
Nicole and I will see you at 5, and yes I will pony up a pair of George Washington portraits for that long shot, and avoid my next trip upstairs for that Diet Coke.
Everyone seems a little more excited since the sun peaked through winter’s grey veil, and temperatures reached 60 plus degrees. The newsroom is a little giddier, a little louder, and a lot busier. In between chatter on who was on Fallon’s Tonight Show premiere, and tutorials from Jane Alverez-Wertz on how to post stories on WAVY.com, our team is working their sources and pulling together the big stories to watch from your community. So, here are my top 5 things to watch during our 90 minutes of news beginning at 5.
1.) Man accused of killing infant daughter. Taking the life of an innocent child perhaps is the most heinous crime one can commit. Outrage is multiplied when you factor in this little girl was just five months old; totally dependent on someone for life, only to have it taken away. Anne McNamara has the difficult task of sifting through the details of a story all of us wish would never have to report.
2.) Murder suspect walks. Andy Fox is once again asking the tough questions stemming from the case of Eric Nixon, an 18 year old accused of murder in the shooting death of a 16 year old at a carnival. Andy broke this story last fall, and now has access to the internal investigation about how this could happen. Andy has some startling revelations in his story: a must see at 6.
3.) ”Fun” in funeral not funny. This may be difficult for many of our viewers with ties to the military. But two pictures posted to social media by a member of the Wisconsin National Guard Funeral Honor Guard are sparking outrage. You’ll see them on WAVY News 10 at 5. One of the captions reads: “We put the ‘fun’ in funeral.” The military is now investigating.
4.) Community fires back on gun violence. This weekend’s shooting just off the campus of Old Dominion University has obviosuly upset those who live in Lambert’s Point. Lauren Compton is with them now at a civic league meeting. She’ll tell us what’s happening at 5:30.
5.) Saturday snow days heating up. We’ve been on this when the snow was still flying Virginia Beach. Tonight, Stephanie Harris and Jason Marks are covering a proposal to drop a plan to make students attend school on two more Saturdays to make up for time lost during our winter storms. Both will have reports during our 90 minutes of news, with Jason staying on the story for our late night news.
The sun looks inviting as morning anchor Don Roberts sits in silhouette finishing up his long day. He gives me his usual “SEE yah” as I work in the friendly chatter of the WAVY newsroom. All of us are thrilled that nature has broken winter’s icy grip, and thus gives Don Slater a break from our ”Top 5 at 5.”
“Talk to each other, OVER-communicate!
That is one of the edicts from WAVY News Director Jim Gilchriest. Reporters in the field have to talk to producers in the newsroom, who talk to the anchors when they come in, who talk to those working the assignment desk, who talk to reporters in the field. To be ”on your side,” as we frequently pledge, everyone has to know what everyone else is doing, especially when that light goes on at 5pm in the studio. That’s why I knock out my top 5 things you should watch for during our 90 minutes of news moments after I arrive. It’s part of my over-communication process.
1.) Saturday school’s out? Usually we’re powerless against nature, but a Virginia Beach school board member is fighting back after the effect of recent snowstorms. 10 on your side has learned that Joel McDonald will present a resolution to end those Saturday sessions. Stephanie Harris is also gathering numbers on how many students attended class this weekend.
2.) Southern weather for a change. Could Punxutawney Phil be a little off? Maybe. At least in Hampton Roads, winter will have a seat for the next several days instead of pounding us for the next month. Just remember, that the only thing we can be sure about our weather is that it changes rapidly. See the WAVY weather blogs for background, and be sure to catch Don Slater’s forecast at 5.
3.) Frozen fishkill. Our rapidly changing weather figures into much of our coverage tonight. Liz Palka is investigating why dead fish are turning up in the waters around Virginia Beach, and it’s a cold reality check on what winter temperatures can do.
4.) Pothole potshots. Anita Blanton hit one. I dodged a few on Brambleton Avenue on the way to work. This winter thaw heats up old problem, and we’re on your side pointing out where some of the worst craters await your vehicle, and most importantly, what VDOT will be doing about it.
5.) The wrong man . A local attorney is suing Norfolk police after they arrested Dahson Iraldo for the murder of an 86 year old barber in 2010. Those charges against Iraldo were later dropped, and Ava Hurdle just interviewed Iraldo’s attorney over why they’ve filed this lawsuit.
As I write this summary, I hear police scanners and assignment editor Typhanny Wiggins talking about someone’s story. It sounds like another example of our over-communication. I better find out what’s going on, so we can tell you about it beginning at 5.
So much of what we do is getting, what we hope, are accurate and fair accounts of the day’s events on the air and online in a timely manner. But as media progressively marches toward split-second immediacy, there is a little time to process what is happening. Case in point: Today’s shooting the Gallery at Military Circle in Norfolk .
As soon as I opened the door to our newsroom, News Director Jim Gilchriest told me “get your face on, we have a shooting inside a mall.” My blood pressure quickly rose for a split second as I asked where. My request was met with silence. I quickly brushed on some powder and ran to our newsroom camera. Asst. News Director Mark Kurtz handed me a bulletin from Norfolk P0lice. In the rush to mic-up, someone yelled about graphic video. Executive Producer Bob Bennett was in the producer’s booth, and told me to stand-by. All while Jim was telling me to issue a disclaimer about video that may be inappropriate for younger viewers. So in a matter of five minutes, between leaving my car in the parking lot, and entering the newsroom, I was on the air with Jason Marks and the lead story of what you’ll see at 5. Here are the other 4 things to watch for tonight.
2.) Mall shoppers at the scene Ava Hurdle is getting stories from others inside the mall at the time of the shooting.
3.) Judge rules against same-sex marriage ban 10 on your side broke the story on air last night during our late news Thursday night. Tonight Stephanie Harris talks to two men at the center of this lawsuit who found the judge’s opinion ”so moving we read it and cried.”
4.) Religious reaction The Catholic Diocese of Richmond says the ruling “contradicts the wisdom and understanding of the ages.” Anita Blanton talked to a number of religious groups who say this decision redefines marriage and the family.
5.) Police: woman admits killing her son Erin Kelly is following these startling developments from Franklin in the case of a six year old’s murder.
Nicole and I will see you at 5.
“I got your lead!”
It’s a boastful tone answered by drops of sarcasm and rolled eyes among residents of the WAVY Newsroom, which, in many ways, is the Fox’s den. Andy Fox is a larger than big screen image in your living rooms nearly every night. He’s the guy who’s “past perpendicular” while fighting hurricane winds on the Outer Banks. He’s the guy advocating “Justice for Jenny,” the young woman with Down Syndrome who wanted to choose her own guardians. Finally, he’s the guy who asks tough questions every day of those charged with running our local and state governments. In short, Andy Fox is on your side, and is nearly always one of the five stories to look for on WAVY News starting at 5.
1.) The Fox on tolls Andy is definitely one of the five things to look for, when he’s on toll patrol. This time, he shows how far many of you will literally go to avoid them. He dug up some new numbers today, that you’ll want to see beginning at 5.
2.) Taking too much of a toll Anita Blanton expands on a story 10 on your side broke Wednesday: Elizabeth River Crossings admitted overcharging on some vehicles. You hear from one of those drivers tonight.
3.) Winter won’t let go Hampton Roads got just a taste of what the rest of the South had shoved down its throat from nature. We may have endured a third snowstorm; but it quickly melted away. However, our southern neighbors are digging out again. Erin Kelly is at Norfolk International Airport where passengers are dealing with cancelled flights and delays in other snowed in cities. This latest storm knocked out power to 100,000 customers in North Carolina. Is there more on the way? You might be surprised when you tune in at 5.
4.) Thinking about mental health Stephanie Harris is doing a lot more tonight. She continues a series of special reports on what Virginia lawmakers are doing to help those who fall through the cracks of the current system.
5.) Gloucester raid Liz Palka is on a developing story on why two businesses were busted. She’ll have more answers by 5.
I’m still waiting to see if Andy has our lead tonight. But it looks like we’ll be starting thing off in the Super Doppler 10 Weather Center.
“We’re following Breaking News!”
The graphics, the music, the tone, command your attention, because something is happening now. It’s how a well-oiled news operation works. But speed must be tempered with accuracy and context. Often times, Nicole Livas and I work without scripts in such fluid situations. We filter information from our assignment desk through our producers and reporters, who often times communicate with us on the fly during big stories. So Nicole and I must develop a feel for each other’s rhthym. I’m often asked, “How do you know when to talk?” My answer is simple, “when Nicole’s finished, I talk.”
It sounds easier than it is. Timing comes from getting to know your co-anchor’s style, and move beyond the words. Often times, it works like two guitar players finishing each other’s part. Other times, someone steps on a word or two. But, it’s the information that’s paramount–such as the five things to look for starting on WAVY News 10 at 5.
1.) Wednesday winter storm or washout? Once again, Hampton Roads’ frigid fight with the season takes center stage. By the time you read this, it may be snowing in your neighborhood. The Super Doppler 10 Weather Center is popping today. Take a moment to see our weather blogs, where Jeremy Wheeler calls the developing scenario for the East Coast a “mess.” But as I’ve said before, the forecast could change. So tune in at 5.
2.) Williamsburg Winter Those of you living on the peninsula could be on the edge of the worst local weather from this system, which is why we have Jason Marks on the road in Williamsburg. He’ll make several appearances between 5 and 6:30 pm.
3.) Suffolk tragedy two-fold In less than 12 hours, two vehicles went into two different ponds in Suffolk, with deadly results. One of the accidents claimed a young mother of two. Art Kohn and Stephanie Harris have compelling interviews you’ll see throughout our 90 minutes of news.
4.) HRBT revisited Andy Fox investigates what happened when a metal plate through a man’s truck shut down the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel and I-64 during Tuesday’s rush hour. He has a long list of questions for VDOT.
5.) Two buck minimum Democrats in the Virginia Senate narrowly passed a two dollar increase in the state’s minimum wage to $9.25. The GOP controlled House of Delegates may have other ideas.
Nicole and I will be ready for these stories and other “breaking news” scenerios beginning at 5.
We call it ”The Live Center:” A bank of monitors and equipment used to “tune in” live reports from our various crews in the field. It’s also commonly referred to as the “Troll.” It’s the electronic brain for a square of scanners, televisions, desks, computers, and cables–the true nerve center of the newsroom. It is here assignment editor Typhanny Wiggins calls out the nuggets of information which are woven together into a developing story. There’s something more urgent about the human voice calling our attention, than a silent top-line alert on our individual screens. The former is a call to action, while the latter can get lost. We compete for your attention everyday, just as the voice from the assignment desk commands our focus for breaking news. Here are my 5 stories to watch starting on WAVY News 10 at 5.
1.) Winter Storm Warning for Dare County. All eyes are still on the skies as our meteorologists track that winter storm moving into Virginia and North Carolina, with the Outer Banks in line for possible snow. Our latest weather blogs show Hampton Roads may dodge a real blast from winter. But tracks and temperature forecasts change often enough to warrant your tuning in at 5 to get the latest information.
2.) North Carolina Governor declares state of emergency. Which brings us to an ounce of preparation, or should we say 1500 tons. That’s how much salt’s been laid by NCDOT crews in anticipation of what could be a 1-2 punch storm. Governor Pat McCrory says the goal here is to be “over prepared.” Sounds like the drill everyday in the WAVY newsroom.
3.) Will Atlanta slip again? Nature has been merciless on those areas least prepared to deal with her cold shoulder. Who could forget the miles of interstate stilled by ice and snow in Atlanta. Stephanie Harris will tell us if the Peach state can keep its balance in this next go around.
4.) Sinking the floating junkyard. Anita Blanton is on your side following the progress of a Norfolk family and their fight to have abandoned boats removed in a waterway near their home.
5.) Police scam. Portsmouth police are warning the elderly and others of a trusting nature to watch out for someone posing as a police officer and public official asking for donations. One phone call cost a 73 year old woman $81,000.
Typhanny will of course shout out any other story that breaks between now and 5. Remember, you heard it here first.
It’s a commanding electronic voice that conveys an urgent need to listen. We call it the “squawk box:” NBC’s pipeline to local stations which informs our newsroom about stories of national or even world significance. The voice on the other end may tell us President Obama is preparing for a newsconference, or that video is coming of a wildfire in California. Our early evening 90 minutes of news is primarily local, however, so any bulletins shouted from the network will be carefully reviewed by our producers and management staff before inclusion in our days events immediately preceeding “NBC Nightly News. ”
“Are we doing enough weather?” shouted Assistant News Director Mark Kurtz. Which brings me to the first of five things to watch on WAVY News 10 beginning at 5:
1.) Winter’s worn out welcome. Here we go again. We have not one, but TWO chances of snow this week. The hour to hour probabilities are detailed in a series of excellent blogs composed by members of our weather team. But any obeserver of meteorology knows the forecast changes hour to hour. Thus, you need to watch the latest forecast beginning at 5.
2.) Saturday school? Erin Kelly spoke with a member of the school board in Virginia Beach about the recent decision to make up snow days on Saturdays, which riled both parents and students. What this board member said may surprise you.
3.) Give us just a little more time Which brings us to another school district and how it plans to make up snow days, without having students attend extra days. There’s a logical explanation. You’ll see tonight.
4.) Life in the cash lane? A Norfolk City Councilman wants an all cash lane at the Downtown Tunnel. Anita Blanton is working the story, and she’ll tell us why he’s pushing for it.
5.) Eminent domain scam? By now you may have seen our previews of a special report by Jason Marks about a man from Virginia Beach and his land deal with VDOT. When he refused VDOT’s first offer, the agency made a second offer, but its a practice that has some landowners calling it a scam. This is a true example of how we’re on your side. Jason spent two months researching this story. You’ll see it at 6.
Nicole Livas and I will see you at 5!